Pulling into the business park at 12835 Lilly Dr., one might think they were coming upon some rugged townhouses.
That would not be too far from the truth at the 70,000-square-foot, East Maple Ridge development that has popped up during the last year.
Developer Phil Cooper said the new commercial-industrial space is setting a new standard for its kind.
‘It’s not just another old concrete box,” he said.
One thing that sets this multi-coloured group of 40 units apart, is the presence of people who call the business park home.
“The forward-thinking planners [at the City of Maple Ridge] gave me five live-work units,” Cooper noted.
“Typically you only get one. So, I’m the first one in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to have that designation. So that breathes life into the place.”
The park is also adhering to the latest building standards, Cooper said, so is as green as can be.
“Most business parks don’t have car chargers, sierra walls, bioswale ditches, and storm water retention pods,” he pointed out.
Cooper and a partner bought the land – which used to be a gravel pit – in 2010. They liked that it was high above the floodplain.
It’s 650 feet above, Cooper emphasized.
“It’s a real benefit to know you don’t need flood insurance – you’re not going to see water running through your front door.”
That feature was also a boon to those who operate their businesses out of the park, as they are also owners.
“We’ve sold most of the units here,” Cooper pointed out. “That gives people a chance to create wealth for their business and their family.
“If you just lease from a real estate holding company, you’re just paying without seeing any return. Whereas with these units, people buy them, and over a period of time they go up in value,” said the former-school-teacher-turned-developer.
“So, if you’re a business owner at the end of your career, you’re not stuck with a worn out truck and body, and little else.”
There are a few businesses that Cooper said they are not considering selling to, including pot growers, automotive repair, and those who perform granite countertop cutting.
The current owners represent a wide variety of industries.
“We’ve got people in the movie business, special effects, machinists, electrical contractors, an upholstery company, and a boat technician.
As the developer, Cooper has kept one unit for himself, and he plans on sticking around to do some more landscaping next spring, as well as helping finish some of the interiors of the units.
“Once I’ve got everybody happy and tucked away, I can back away. I’ve got a couple other projects I’m looking to do in Maple Ridge,” he said.